Today’s boot camp prompt is:
One Day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find another cookie. This continues for months until one Day a different object is left—and this time there’s a note.
It sat there in it’s perfect little box silently waiting. My favorite kind of cookie from my favorite bakery. I looked around to see if anyone was watching me. I don’t think I had ever told anyone about the bakery, at least not anyone at work. I didn’t see any heads poking around corners or out of cubes so I shrugged and sat down.
I picked up the box and turned it over looking for a note, but there was none. I wasn’t exactly early today so the office was already full making it even harder to guess who would have left it. I opened the box and ate the soft cookie one slow bite at a time. Whoever did this had turned a Monday into less of a drag.
This happened the next day and the next and the day after that. Every day I came into work to find my favorite cookie, but no note and no other clues as to who would be giving me this.
I asked around the office to see if anyone had left it for me, but no one would own up to it. Patricia and I sat on the bench in front of the elevator eating our lunches and deciding which people entering or exiting would be the likely bestower of cookies.
“He looks too uptight.” We’d agree about Josh from the third floor who always had a scowl on his face.
“Oh she definitely doesn’t give out cookies.” I said about Marley from HR who didn’t exactly seem human enough for human resources.
“Did you see the way he looked at you? I bet it’s him.” Patty said, nudging me with her elbow when the doors had closed on Sam. He was definitely handsome and had always shown an interest in me, but I had never seen him outside of work so I shook my head and disagreed.
“Hey Natasha!” Then there was Jackson. He was winning the “mostly likely” contest.
“Hi Jackson.” I focused on my food.
“What are you guys up to?” Before I could answer Patty was running her mouth.
“Trying to figure out who Nat’s secret admirer is.” Jackson’s eyes saddened.
“Oh. You…you have a secret admirer.” I shrugged and smiled at him.
“No one willing to admit to it. Remember me asking you about that cookie a few weeks ago?” He nodded. “Well I still can’t get anyone to own up to it.”
“Oh.” He said. He knew we could never work, but it obviously still made him sad. He had asked me out multiple times and I had always said no because our personalities clashed so much…or maybe they were too similar. Whatever it was I knew we wouldn’t work. He wasn’t a bad guy, just not right for me. “Well enjoy your lunch.” He said and then walked away again.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who this person was. I even made a chart, a list of people with access to my desk, a list of those whose cubes were directly connected to my desk, and finally a wish list of who I hoped it was. It didn’t do any good, I still had no idea.
One day finally shed all the light I needed. I came into the office, expecting to find my cookie (I had grown quite accustomed to my morning snack), but instead found a different box. I slowly stepped into my cube, hesitant for the first time. Then I realized if someone was going to kill me, I was probably going to die from poison they put in the cookies that I had eaten without a second thought.
I sat down and slowly opened the box. It was a gold necklace with a cookie pendant. The back of the pendant read “A Cookie A Day”. In the bottom of the box was the first note. It brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you for never passing by. Every day you gave me a little hope that one day I could do better. Because of your help, I was able to purchase new clothes, get my haircut, and get a job again. I was surprised to find I work in the same building as the most giving person I’ve ever known. This is not as much as you’ve given me over the years, but I’ve been saving from each paycheck and hopefully you will understand how much you mean to me and what part you had in my ability to get off the streets.
I didn’t understand it. I had only given him a few dollars every day. I had sat with him a couple times to learn his story and share a cookie, but never anything that big.
After work I went straight to the bakery, but he wasn’t there. Every day after work I had stopped at this bakery and every day after he had been sitting at the entrance to the alley next to it. I had thought about his absence briefly the first day I noticed he was missing. I had hoped he wasn’t dead, but figured it was more likely he just picked a different place to panhandle.
He wasn’t in his usual spot so I went inside to get my cookie.
“Hey! She’s back.” The owner of the shop said to no one in particular. I laughed and told him why I hadn’t been there in so long. When I asked for my usual, he pointed toward a table and said it was waiting for me. When I turned around I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Josh, but not Josh. He looked years younger without the scraggly beard and mustache, without the extra layers of clothing and dirt. He was wearing a dress shirt and slacks with a fresh haircut and a giant smile on his face holding my cookie of the day.